Blog, Direct To Garment Printing

DTG Printers 5 Things You Should Know to Stay Happy


DTG Printers are Fairly New

We’ve come a long way in direct-to-garment printers.  Back in the day, they used ancient devices called screen printers.  Compared to direct-to-garment, screen printing is like trying to read War and Peace while rock climbing.  Direct-to-Garment printing is a relatively new technology that began in the early 2000s and is now hitting its stride.  It’s a great time to get involved in DTG Printers.

Direct-To-Garment Printers Have a Substantial Learning Curve

DTG Printers seem pretty simple on the outside.  Load the image to the computer, put the shirt in the machine, and press the button.  But there are factors you usually would not be aware of if you’re new to the direct-to-garment industry.  So although digital printing is much easier than screen printing, there is a slight learning curve to overcome, but after that, it’s smooth sailing.

direct-to-garment printers

Printing on dark t-shirts isn’t exactly splitting the atom, but compared to printing on light t-shirts, it is more complex and time-consuming.  Therefore, pretreat is required if white ink is being used.  Furthermore, it would help if you pretreated the t-shirt, heat press it, printed the image, then heat press it again.  Despite sounding a lot easier than it is, there’s a learning curve to DTG Printers. On the other hand, the old way of doing things required you to pretreat your shirts using power sprayers and such.  Some direct-to-garment machines allow you only to pretreat the areas you want, saving you time and money.


Printers Must be Maintained

First, when you come in the morning, there will be maintenance.  Second, when you leave at night, there will be maintenance. Likewise, if something goes wrong… you guessed it.  There will be maintenance.  This has mostly to do with the white ink settling down in the lines and clogging up the heads.

Direct-to-Garment Printers are Expensive

Getting into DTG Printing can be a substantial financial risk.  The machines are expensive, and the cost of supplies & consumables can add up.  Above all, everything but that last part was true, but depending on how much you sell each t-shirt, the printer will eventually pay for itself.  Everything after that is profit. Do your research first and attend a few trade shows like ISS, NBM, or SGIA.  Most of the time, vendors will give huge discounts on initial equipment purchases during trade shows, saving you a ton of money.

Northwest Custom Apparel has a FREE DTG Demo in Seattle.

If your business is in Washington or Oregon, you can stop into Northwest Custom Apparel and receive a demo of the Kornit DTG printer. Many local screen printers looking to purchase a DTG printer can arrange a time to see the Kornit printer work in production. We recommend you visit a working DTG shop with the printer running in a production environment. You can speak to the printer operator firsthand and get an unbias opinion of direct-to-garment printing. Northwest Custom Apparel isn’t endorsed by Kornit or any other DTG printer company so you will hear truthful, unbias reviews. To schedule a demo, please get in touch with Erik Mickelson at [email protected] or call our local Seattle number 253-922-5793

Kornit DTG Printers are the choice of Seattle’s Northwest Custom Apparel.

Northwest Custom Apparel started in the custom embroidery industry in 1977 in Seattle. As technology grew and direct-to-garment options came to market, the Kornit DTG printer was #1. We purchased our first Kornit Storm 2 in September 2011. We had a big learning curve since it didn’t perform as the sales rep promised. Despite this, the struggles lasted for 3-5 years; with the Kornit constantly breaking down, we never gave up hope. We finally had enough of the breakdowns and misprinted t-shirts, and we had a sit down with the executives at the Kornit Headquarters. Under those circumstances, the Kornit Execs sent us a brand new Kornit Hexa to apologize for the years of struggle. The new Kornit Hexas work tremendously, and our downtime is less than 90%.

two young men standing in front of a Kornit printer
Kornit Storm Hexa inside Northwest Custom Apparel

Our Kornit Hexa in Action Video NW Custom Apparel


About Erik Mickelson

Erik Mickelson is the author of Northwest Custom Apparel's blogs. Erik has been with Northwest Custom Apparel since 1996 after graduating from Washington State University and is the founder of the Apparel Graphic Academy. Trained by the custom graphic apparel industry's best, Mark Venit, Erik brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Embroidery Adventure blog. As they say, 'Experience is the best teacher.' We are proud to have Erik as part of our team!